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Somewhere between watching the World Cup, taking the Italian Metro, hopping into taxis, and cavorting around Milan for Fashion Week, New York magazine writer Luca Caminati noticed that Italian men had, like, really tweezed eyebrows.
But, is this a surprise to any of us here in the States? After all, we've seen many a power-browed Italian-American on reality TV. I, for one, am also a fan of perfect arches: When I was younger, I was so self-conscious of my brows swallowing my face that I took a Schick Quattro to them, whittling away until they were next-to-nothing. My two older brothers have been getting their brows waxed since I can remember. And, anyone who's been to the Jersey shore IRL knows that waxing (both brows and chest) is totally in.
For Lilly Wallace, an Italian beauty blogger who recently moved to Florida, the thought of men who tweeze their brows is no big deal at all. "The men where I'm from aren't at all concerned that groomed brows will make them look effeminate," she says. "That seems to be an American thing. I was surprised when I moved here and noticed that men don't usually take care of their eyebrows. My husband is American, and he won't even let me remove a few hairs!"
Isn't this ritual a little odd, considering that Italy's a country deeply rooted in tradition? "To be honest, I was born in the '80s and I haven't noticed much social change in the country since then," says Lilly. "But, the thing is, Italian men have always loved to look put-together. Slim pants, being physically active, smelling good, and keeping up with trends in hair and fashion are important to them! If something outlandish in fashion, like three-quarter-length pants, for example, was made by a well-respected Italian designer — like a Prada or a Valentino — then Italian men would consider it classy, whereas Americans would take longer to adapt. Eyebrow grooming kind of falls [into] that same category."
Perhaps, the Italian man will eventually come to notice that "grooming" doesn't mean ridding one's face of any and all stray hairs until your eyebrows are mere lines on your forehead, and that the best kinds of brows have more of a lived-in, effortless feel.
Or, perhaps not, and their tweezing will become an Italian legacy, like The Godfather or Olive Garden. (The Cut )